The work culture in Bulgaria

Hello everyone,

As an expatriate, working in Bulgaria can present unique opportunities but also challenges. Discovering new communication styles, adapting to new cultural norms... working in Bulgaria can be both exciting and confusing.

Share your experience to better understand the work culture in Bulgaria and facilitate the professional adaptation of people who are wondering about it.

How would you define the work culture in Bulgaria?

What was the most difficult thing for you when you started working?

What made the biggest impression on you?

How did you fit into your team?

Thank you for your contribution.

Mickael team


I employ some 50 Bulgers in various positions in the hospitality industry.   These positions include attorneys, bookkeepers, gardeners, chambermaids, skilled and unskilled labor, positions of handling money, reservations and customer service.  This has been over the last five years s.  I feel qualified to say the following

Bulgarians (B) are ***********

Inventory not locked down will be stolen, cash will be stolen and workers will goldbrick unless closely supervised.  Accountants and Attorneys

will dip their hands into the toll freely.

We provide a safe comfortable work environment yet customer service people will ignore clients and focus on their phones.

Thus we must go through 8-10 employees who we quickly fire for violation and prosecute theft

till we find a decent employee.

Workers believe they have a job for life and believe they cannot be fired.  They are genuinely surprised when we do just that.

so have no pity on B and do not accuse me of being a tyrant.  Those that make it through the first 90 days and then the first year love their job and understand what we require and they are rewarded with above market wages. And our facilities rank at 9.6 or above in

It is a sad commentary on the state of the country but the attitude comes from the top, is pervasive through all aspects of civil servants, and may take 50 years to correct.

having said all this, I think it is the state of the world all day long and having come from America. I would say that the current workforce in America is very similar.

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Wow interesting discussion.

As you say, you find it similar with American staff as well & my attitude is its the same with british staff.

You will occasionally find that gold member & look after them with above avarage wage & bonuses.

Shame isn't it. I used to employ about 50 staff, why do staff think you owe them a living even if they frequently phone in sick, book holidays without agreement & expert all the perks from a business ?

It depends if the company you work for has managers from your native country, Bulgarian only, or a combination.

I have learned a combination is the worst. Because the managers from the native country can't do what they need to do. And give in (weak, so weak!). Because the Bulgarian higher managers cannot imagine those not native employees need a strict hand in all things.

For example strict rules for coming late, being "sick" or sick for real without sick leave etc. Not only words but deeds. And not to promote people who don't do what they need to do because "they might do it better in this position". With in the end people who do function leaving the company.

I have never worked in i am wife is bulgarian..a very hard worker..but a school teacher of the uk..also at last.

Like in most countries..good and bad

In all aspects..not had a bad experience except from gypsies..who call thieving a work be trusted..etc

One rotten apple spoils it for the rest.

All in all..i love and respect bulgaria..hoping they will respect me.


Jesus man!!! :D

If I move there, I am thinking of employing at least one person...but hopefully more, as I would also like to give back to any place that can cope with me. The problem would be that is people are so entitled, lazy and/or dishonest it will go through my budget pretty quickly for nothing.


Woww !!!

Managing employees (and running a business) is a headache wherever you go. :-) At least, that was my experience. And I'm very happy that my employer (and business running) days are far behind me. I very much doubt it's an issue specific to Bulgarians!

It's true that you can get screwed by your employees. But you can also get screwed by your business partners, board of directors, professional advisors, friends, relations, wives and husbands... it's a very long list, innit. On the other hand, there's very little you can accomplish, all on your own, paranoid that the world is out to get you!

Personally, I'd say this seems a rather ill-advised topic by @Mickael: it's just an invitation to indulge cheap and lazy stereotypes and make unhelpful generalizations about the local population.

Which is not to say I have anything against @Johnavann. He's a long-term and valued member here, and he frequently makes interesting and insightful comments. I admire him for being able to run a successful hospitality biz with lots of employees. I've run a hospitality biz too, and it's a challenge, even with only a few employees! There are lots of opportunities to goof off, lots of opportunities to steal, lots of opportunities to annoy the guests, and (typically) significant amounts of cash floating around, which is always a temptation. But any generalization is more likely to be valid about the nature of hospitality businesses and how to manage them (very carefully, perhaps even ruthlessly), rather than the nature of Bulgarian (or Spanish or German or Italian or Israeli) workers.

Fun to know that workers from Bulgaria, America, Britain behave absolutely the same way - all are lazy, untrustworhy and actually "criminals" more or less!! ;)

Would love to see comments frome some other employers having experience with workers from France, Spain, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Turkey, Greece ....

Based on just two people it is hard to say exactly where the problem is .... it could be in the nationality of the workers, it could be in the type of people you hire, it could be in the low salaries, it could be in the management style, it could even be in the type of business .....

So the more points of view - the better and hopefully closer to the truth.

@gwynj Your comments are totally appropriate! about my observations.     My experience is in the service industry and I would agree that it is a global issue as it is poplated with  youthful entrants into the workforce.  Tmes are different and the great dividing line is precell phone and post.   I would also include sales people in the same observations such as auto, investments, insurance and banking which is a little of both and heavily populated with youthfull staff.   At least the banks have the fortitude to require that they turn off their cell phones while other industries may find it challenging.

Th question might not have been outlined properly as stated earlier.   It is likely a global problem and the same responses could come from expats living in any country.   I was recently in the US for a business trip and can assure you that the lack  of service and rude , lazy staff was much more apparant then it was five years ago.   

I shutter to think what the next 50 years will bring when all countries will control their populations with digitial curriencies.   Perhaps they will send a 40 volt shock signal to any lazy individual that does not meet "them" quota. 


It's not as bad as you may have thought.  There are nuggets of gold and you need to sift through a lot of rocks to find that gold.  I have met many hardworking and ethicial people--it seems the worst experiences are found in large towns and cities and far less so in villiages which are like large families.